Ifeyinwa Maureen Okafor talked about her career journey and her experience as an Amujae Leader in an in-depth interview with a leading business publication in Nigeria, while sharing some advice with women starting out in their professional life.
Emphasizing the importance of not letting fear get in the way of achieving your goals, she said:
“We should learn to embrace our failures and use them as stepping stones to our next success. Some of the things that I’ve failed at, I’ve learned from… and has made me a better person and helped me come into the next phase stronger… There’s no hurdle in life that is too high to overcome, especially for women.”
A Chartered Accountant and Governance Professional, Ms. Okafor talked about how as the firstborn child in her family she was always held to high expectations by her university lecturer parents. After spending time abroad in her youth, she recalled her father explaining the importance of contributing to your home country. This led her to recognize that:
“ is my country and as much as I can travel and see development, I have a sense of duty to be part of resolving the issues that we face; being part of the solution and… contributing to our national development.”
After spending the first 15 years of her career in banking and financial services, Ms. Okafor realized that though she had found success in the corporate world and “could take care of my needs… I could also see that there were a lot of people who couldn’t take care of their needs.”
Driven by the desire to help those who were less fortunate, Ms. Okafor decided to make a move into politics, and in 2015 she stood for governor in her state of Imo. Although her election bid was ultimately unsuccessful, she was invited to join the Imo State Government as a Member of the Financial Advisory Committee in 2019.
During her interview with Kemi Ajumobi, Associate Editor of BusinessDay and Editor of BusinessDay’s Women’s Hub magazine, Ms. Okafor enthused about her selection as an Amujae Leader in the 2021 cohort:
“It’s an amazing network of wonderful women… We have a huge responsibility to represent nation in this so that, with a high sense of responsibility and duty, we can… learn and then come back to impact our communities with what we have learned.”
You can read the interview here (subscription required).